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Police Volunteers Recruiting Members
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As cutbacks are made in all areas in these tough economic times, the Escalon Police Department is looking to beef up its volunteer corps with a few more people.

The call has gone out to anyone interested in serving as a police department volunteer, helping with vacation checks, special events and neighborhood patrols.

"We're always recruiting," said volunteers coordinator Katie Kirkbride. "We have dropped the age down, you have to be 21 and over and pass a background check."

By lowering the age to 21, Kirkbride said officials are hoping to tap a group of citizens that are too old for the department's Explorer program but are still interested in learning more abut law enforcement and possible career opportunities in the field.

New in the scope of duties now for the volunteers is the visitation program for persons with limited mobility. A form is available at the police department for those who have illnesses or trouble getting around to be put on a regular visitation list and have the volunteers routinely check on them.

That could be especially important if hot weather hits, with a string of 100-degree days increasing the need for security checks.

"Applications for the visitation are available and they can get on a list for the visits," said Kirkbride.

Volunteers also do house checks while people are on vacation, help with crowd control at special events such as Park Fete and the Homecoming parade, and more.

"A lot of people recognize the volunteer car," Kirkbride said. "The Bobsts (volunteers Bob and Ilene Bobst) are out there every Thursday, it's one of those extra things that is really helpful."

Having a police car, even the volunteer program one, visible on the streets can be a deterrent to crime, she said.

Kirkbride said there is no specific time commitment required for volunteers. The department provides a uniform polo shirt, dark pants and a belt for the volunteers to wear while on duty and there is a dedicated patrol car for the volunteer program.

"Wherever extra help is needed, they go," said Kirkbride. "In fact, the staff at the Park Fete Run was all volunteers."

The current volunteer corps includes Bob and Ilene Bobst, Ed Dwyer, Dave Cook and John and Dee Mostowski. Plans are in the works for a training day with neighboring Oakdale volunteers next month and the local volunteers also get some on-the-job training with Escalon.

"They'll ride out with me for a couple of hours, we go over radio codes and codes in general, how to do the house checks," Kirkbride said.

Those interested in joining the volunteers group or wanting more information can contact Kirkbride at 691-7316.